Friday, March 11, 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Five Retrospective

1. Redemption: Part II
This is the rare Next Generation season opener where the conclusion is way better than the cliff-hanger that preceded it. This was an ok two-parter that worked mostly for the little moments than for the over-all story. My favorite part of this episode is for the scenes where Data takes his first command during the battle against the Romulans and saves the day at the end. Other than that, meh.
Watch it

2. Darmok
Picard and crew have to learn to communicate with an alien race that uses metaphor as their language. This is a very difficult episode to explain, but it's one of the all time best science fiction stories I've ever seen, Star Trek or otherwise. Love it.
Buy it

3. Ensign Ro
Michelle Forbes joins the cast as the rebellious Ensign Ro. Forbes is a beautiful, talented actress, but this character never worked for me. She was worked in to add more edge and friction to the otherwise happy and friendly cast, but it just always seemed forced, and her anger and intensity was more annoying than anything else. But... Forbes usually made the character work because she really was a great actress. This episode was also notable for being the first appearance of the Bajorians, and the story laid the groundwork for the entire premise of Deep Space Nine
Watch it

4. Silicon Avatar
Because the fans demanded it, the producers finally brought back the Crystalline Entity from first season's Datalore. I'm kidding, of course. Nobody but me even remembers that thing. Anyway, the Crystal killed the son of some scientist, so she tracks it down and kills it. This episode is ok.
Watch it

5. Disaster
The Enterprise has, well, a disaster that leaves is adrift in space. Various crew members are separated among the ship and have little adventures as they try to get back to the bridge and fix the problems and get back underway. This episode is very, very funny and exciting.
Buy it

6. The Game
Some chick Riker is banging gives him a some crummy videogame that gives you orgasms when you score. Or something. He passes it around the crew, until it finally is revealed to be some form of mind control. The only people who resist are Wesley Crusher and Ashley Judd. This episode is even dumber than this recap makes it sound.
Skip it

7.- 8. Unification: Parts I & II
Spock makes an appearance on Next Generation. This two-part episode deals with Spock going to Romulus in order to work on reunifying their culture with the Vulcans. This is a great story made all the more fun by the performance by Leonard Nimoy as Spock. This episode is also notable for being the Next Generation's first two-episode that wasn't a season cliff-hanger.
Buy it

9. A Matter of Time
The Enterprise is visited by a time traveling scientist played by Matt Frewer, of Doctor Doctor and Max Headroom fame. This episode doesn't have the strongest story, but it's a classic if only because of the hilarious performance by the always amazing Matt Frewer.
Buy it

10. New Ground
Worf's son Alexander comes to stay on the Enterprise. If that sounds fun to you, by all means check it out. Lord knows Alexander needs more fans.
Skip it

11. Hero Worship
Data rescues a kid who just lost his family in some battle, who latches onto the Android and attempts to act like him in order to repress his emotions. This was a better story idea than an actual episode, but it's still worth checking out because it's very well written.
Watch it

12. Violations
Troi gets mind raped by some telepathic alien. This is an ok, if somewhat dark and depressing, episode. It was a very clever, thoughtful topic, but it didn't really work for me, dawg.
Skip it

13. The Masterpiece Society
Two Troi episodes in a row. This time around, the Enterprise visits some colony of perfectly engineered people, and Troi falls in love with one of them, proving one again that with the single exception of Will Riker, she has the worst freakin' taste in men.
Skip it

14. Conundrum
The Enterprise crew gets their memories erased for, like, the fifteenth time.
Skip it

15. Power Play
An away teams beams down to a planet only to get possessed by space ghosts. When the come back aboard, they proceed to take command of this ship. This is another of those rare action episodes, and it's totally awesome. I love this one and it totally makes up for the three stinkers we just had in a row.
Buy it

16. Ethics
Worf becomes paralyzed, so he asks Riker to help him commit ritual suicide. I don't want to spoil anything, but Worf doesn't commit suicide, nor does he stay paralyzed. But this is still a very good episode.
Watch it

17. The Outcast
Riker falls in love with a member of some race of androgynous beings. Seriously, Riker. Even Geordie was embarrassed for Riker after this episode.
Skip it

18. Cause and Effect
This episode has the greatest intro in the history of Star Trek: The enterprise blows up and everybody dies. After the commercial break, we learn that the explosion caused some sort of rift in time, so the ship gets caught in a loop where the explosion keeps happening and everybody always dies. Well, until they solve the problem, that is. This episode is brilliant.
Buy it

19. The First Duty
Wesley gets in trouble in school, or something, after breaking the rules by performing some kind of outlawed shuttlecraft maneuver. 
Skip it

20. Cost of Living
This episode stars Lawaxana Troi and Worf's son Alexander. Need I say more?
Skip it

21. The Perfect Mate
Some alien buys a mail-order space bride, but Picard accidentally opens the crate before she arrives and she falls in love with him instead. The good news is, it's Famke Janssen! This episode is ok, but it's made tolerable because Famke Janssen is one of the most beautiful women who has ever walked the Earth. Janssen and Patrick Stewart would later reunite for the X-Men series of films.
Watch it

22. Imaginary Friend
Some girl has an imaginary friend who turns out to be an alien. Story idea most likely submitted by Patrick Stewart's granddaughter.
Skip it

23. I Borg
Geordie befriends an abandoned member of the Borg who comes to be known as Hugh. This episode is one of the all time best.
Buy it

24. The Next Phase
Ro and Geordie become out of phase with the rest of the crew, so they are invisible and can walk through walls. Not bad and kinda fun, but not one of the best.
Watch it

25. The Inner Light
This is my all time favorite episode of Star Trek, and it's of those few things that makes me cry every damn time I watch it. Picard is hit by an alien probe and imagines himself living a life where he falls in love, builds a family, and has total peace and happiness. Best... episode... ever.
Buy it

26. Time's Arrow: Part I
The crew go back in time to 19th century California and team up with Mark Twain to fight aliens. Sounds dumb, but only because it is dumb... but it's also a lot of fun. I love this one. This is actually my favorite Next Generation season-ending cliff-hanger.
Buy it

Overall, this season was a mixed bag, containing some of my all time favorite episode with some of the absolute worst. The totals are as follows:

Skip it: 9

Watch it: 7

Buy it: 10


Justin Garrett Blum said...

The first duty was aiight. Probably one of the better Wesley episodes. In any case, about a billion times better than the season seven episode where he becomes a god.

The Outcast was well intentioned, and it wasn't ineffective, but yeah...kind of weird.

Totally agree with you about Inner Light, by the way. I wish I were watching that right now. There's virtually never been a time in my life I wouldn't have enjoyed watching that episode.

Sundry said...

“Darmok” is a great episode because of Patrick Stewart and Paul Winfield’s performances, more so than the storyline. Communicating solely in metaphor … o-kay. How do you say, “pass the ketchup” or “anyone seen my left shoe” in metaphors? Still, an outstanding, must watch episode. “Silicon Avatar” is great fun because it demonstrates that there is no such thing as checking for psychological fitness in the future. Dr. Marr was at least seven kinds of crazy, but no one seemed to notice until it was too late. Very viewable.

There’s a certain amusement factor with “New Ground.” Watching Worf deal with a child who neither fears, nor obeys, him is entertaining. I’d give the episode a watch it.

Not a fan of “Violations.” It doesn’t work for me on any level. If Jev had a thing for Troi, he didn’t need to go through all that icky-ness. He could have dyed his hair dark brown, and she probably would have swooned. Troi repeatedly has judgment lapses when it comes to brunette men, demonstrated again in “The Masterpiece Society,” the annoying episode I watched today.

“The Masterpiece Society,” where to begin … perhaps with the cranky advisor who didn’t want to have contact with the Enterprise. Or, the wishy-washy society in general. “Save us! No, leave us alone! No, save us!” I would have respected this episode more if all members of the society were destroyed by the stellar fragment. Ka-boom! Cue mourning. Cue laments. Cue Picard making some gravitas literary reference. That society annoyed me so much, I just wanted them blown up. An absolute skip it.

Time spent that you can never get back: “The Game.” Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I loved the First Duty Tom Paris aka Nicki lacarndo, has wesleys back, he had his teams back, and they would have gotten off with a reprimand. Thats it. No career destroyed nothing if Wes lies. But the little isht squeezed on his friends destroying 3 other careers. And risking murder charges bc of a matter of Wesley ethics. were Starfleet. We don't lie. But he did, and just didn't have the balls to go 4h6666y5656y66with it after they already knew they were full of poop. Paris did what he said, but Wes sold out his friends, n futures. Deep down if u were Wesley would throw it way